Administration looks to increase number of students aged 25 and up

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With a goal to increase the number of adult learners at El Camino College through accommodations outside of evening classes, new programs to enhance adult education were presented during the Board of Trustees meeting Monday, April 14 in the Alondra Room.

“Adult learners are very diverse,” Dean of Community Advancement Jose Anaya said. “You have to look at the community and how best to serve them by looking at open jobs.”

During the meeting, Anaya and the Director of Career Technical Education Adriana Estrada gave a presentation on how EC can go about increasing the number of adult learners on campus.

According to the presentation, EC can look to build on adult education opportunities by shortening the amount of time needed to obtain an associates degree while offering support outside of classes such as job listings and apprenticeships.

“Some of it is at no cost since there are programs that are expanding and enrollment will help to support that,” EC President and Superintendent Dena Maloney said. “Some of it is the additional services in the student services area is working with an existing budget and moving funds around to support it.”

According to the presentation, 71.8% of students at EC are under the age of 24, while the remaining 28.2% are 25 years old or above.

Anaya and Estrada said they are looking to focus on the 28.2%, and increase the numbers of adult learners.

“We have a robust offering [of adult education courses at EC] here,” Estrada said. “We are bringing all of these offerings together under one umbrella called adult education so that it’s easy for the student to understand.”

EC offers an online Business and Sociology Associate Degree and also has five of seven proposed vocational programs in development.

According to the presentation, cooperating with local companies to make employment streamlined could further strengthen the adult education field.

“We use a software that tells us what jobs are growing in the community and projected to continue to grow,” Anaya said. “We developed programs specifically to educate individuals to go into those open jobs.”

By being able to offer more online courses as well as accelerating the programs by creating eight-week courses, a more self-directed and career goal-oriented system can be made for adult learners, according to the presentation.

“We are already offering these great opportunities, but we are looking to expand on them,” Estrada said. “We’re bringing them all together and packaging them in a way that’s easy for a student to understand.”

Despite the newer programs being oriented toward adult learners, it could be possible for younger students to take these courses as well.

“We’re not segregating who can take the classes, but we’re identifying what certain populations might need that we aren’t offering, or offering in a way that works for their life,” Maloney said.

The adult education goal is to offer programs for students with diverse learning to be able to adapt to technological advancements and obtain an associates degree faster.

“The key thing is that there is a lot of people out in the community who, if the right programs were available in a way, that they could complete them quickly,” Maloney said. “It would make so much of a difference in their lives.”

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